Happy Purim to everyone. Since we changed the clocks last weekend and the days are lighter longer, I feel revitalized. Tacky as it may sound I have a spring in my step, the birds are chirping, the bees buzzing and the air is perfumed with the smells of citrus blossoms. Cherry trees are thick with their tissue looking clouds of pink blossoms and the herbs I planted in my new front garden have taken hold.
In this year’s Purim Platicos or Mishloach Manot I am including, a small bottle of grape juice, a challah roll from one of two new Challah recipes I have just created to use at the annual post Pesach Challah baking class I give at the Sephardic Temple every year, a bag of Jordan Almonds, a bag of my new Macadamia Nut Biscotti, a bag of Fabulous Hamantashen with new apricot pistachio filling, mini Chocolate Espresso Cakes, mini bags of Jellie Bellies and chocolate covered glace’d apricots. Also included are Jazzy Oatmeal cookies and Chocolate Cherry Marzipan Bars. Indulge a little, set your diet aside for one evening and enjoy a few treats.
This new kind of biscotti was a hit with Michael, Grandpa and everyone who received some
Biscotti are such a wonderful cookie and very Sephardic in spirit since they are great dunked in Turkish coffee. I baked a new version of biscotti the other day since in my morning farm market walk I bought some freshly harvested Macadamia nuts and ground Macadamia nut flour. Try these, they are addictive.
Yield: 60 to 80
6 cups all purpose unbleached flour, plus 1 cup
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoon ground anise
1 generous teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh orange zest
4 extra large eggs
2 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil, sunflower is great
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups ground macadamia nuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup whole macadamia nuts
1 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped in medium (1/2 inch) pieces
Heat oven to 350°F. Line an aluminum rimmed baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Combine 6 cups flour with baking powder, orange zest, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Reserve last cup flour separately. Place cracked eggs in bowl of stand mixer, add sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and thick. Add oil to eggs and beat, starting at slowest speed, until well combined. Add orange and lemon juice. Add ground nuts and mix. Next, add dry ingredients. Start mixer on slowest speed until combined. Lastly add dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, and chopped apricots. Mix gently to combine and distribute throughout dough.
Flour a work surface like wood or stone using some of reserved flour. Remove dough from mixer bowl and place on work surface. Dough may be slightly sticky. Add some or flour as you knead dough gently until it is smooth. Use only as much flour as you need to work. Roll dough into a smooth flat ball and slice into 4 equal pieces. Form four uniform compact logs patting dough into shape with your hands, about 2 inches in diameter and 10 to 12 inches in length. Place logs carefully on lined baking sheet, two logs per baking sheet.
Bake until golden in color 25 to 30 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven. Turn oven temperature down to 200°F. Carefully place biscotti logs on a cutting board without breaking them. Cut biscotti immediately on a sharp diagonal with a long serrated knife. You may need to wipe knife off with a towel dampened with hot water to remove any sticky buildup occasionally. Return sliced biscotti to clean cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper, being careful not to break them, and spread them so air can circulate all around them. Some biscotti may not look totally cooked through, this will be fixed in the toasting stage. Toast biscotti in a 200°F oven for two hours and then, turn oven off. Leave biscotti in oven another 45 minutes or even better, overnight, without opening the door. The residual heat finishes toasting the biscotti. Biscotti should be crisp. Store biscotti in an airtight tin.